Tips for SMEs. How to create an online marketing strategy.

    Written by: Antonio Andújar

    Before we start, just take it easy because you are not alone. Many small businesses in different sectors and places do not usually position their online company and they do not take full profit of their website due to lack of time and resources, but mostly because they do not know where to begin.

    So, as we know what you need, in Amara we want to help you. That is why in this post we will explain three easy steps for you to be able to develop your first online marketing strategy for your small business:

    1. First step. Branding. Everything has a beginning and in this case you have to start by defining your brand. By “branding” we do not mean to just a name, a website or a logo, since you probably have already those. We rather talk about the importance of communicating something different and valuable with your brand.

    And you may think: That sounds great, but how do I do that? Firstly, you have to think about your history to know what your motivations are (Why do you set up your company?). Then you should talk to your customers and, ultimately, ask them why they choose you and what sets you apart from your competition. Third, look around. Visit websites of your competitors to find distinguishing aspects and also learn what they are doing well. Finally, gather all the information to draw conclusions and start defining your brand.

    1. Second step. Content. Probably you already have a website, but have you ever stopped to look at it as your customers would do? In many websites we found that when it comes to design, companies assumed that their customers had “some knowledge” or “speak the same jargon”. Big mistake!

    To avoid making that mistake, ask yourself two simple questions: Does my website have the information that my potential customers would need? And, am I using the language that my potential customers would use?

    Also remember that your web content has to incorporate the essence and values that you defined for your brand to be different from the competition. Using a culinary metaphor, once your content has been filtered with the two questions above, you should enhance them with the ingredients you used to build your brand.

    These tips also apply to any content you want to develop for your company (flyers, brochures, advertising, etc.).

    1. Third Step. Strategy. Now you know the keys to develop a brand and a website that will make your customers to choose your company among your competitors. So you can start by your online strategy, since it will consume more time and resources. But do not panic, we are pragmatic and service-minded people, so we are going to tell you what will work best with your resources and thus you can focus on actions generating higher ROI. Let's see which actions are:
    • Content is the king of your online strategy. Google is keen on original content and updates, so if you provide them, you will rise positions in the search. That way, when people look for you, you can be found.
    • Pay to advertise your company on online media is a good tool. However, you have to think about it carefully since it can involve a large investment in time and money. To optimise the investment you must constantly measure and monitor your online media campaigns. In this way, you will know what works and what does not, due to a technique that has always been part of the humanity: learn by making mistakes.
    • Your business must be social. Once your brand and website are set up and you have unique and valuable content , you can start sharing it in social networks. Now you may ask how and where. The answer is not the same for everyone and will depend on your goals. For example, LinkedIn and Twitter tend to work better for business B2B (companies that sell to other businesses), while Facebook is best suited for B2C businesses (companies that sell to final users). For our experience we suggest that you focus on one or two networks to reach your potential customers. Also you have to mind about your content, since it should be adapted to the social network you use. For instance, LinkedIn and Twitter need content that is constantly updated and Facebook more visual content.

    Well, that's all. At least so you can start. We know it is a lot of work, but it is going to worth it. Just remember, it begins by analysing what makes your company different and communicating it. Then think about the needs of your current and potential customers to provide valuable content they want to consume. Finally, develop a strategy to reach your target audience through actions and online media. And remember, if you need help, we will always support you.

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